Monthly Archives: February, 2017

No Confidence

In Romans 15:13, we read: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (NLT). We know that Jesus Christ is our only hope. We know that He alone is our confidence. The Bible says, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him” (NIV).

If you have put your confidence in a human at any point in your life, it is likely that you have been let down or hurt. Humans are constantly changing. The hearts of humans are deceptive. Being confident in Christ Jesus is different. We are to rely on what He has done for us. We are to trust in the promises of God. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

It is when we try to place our confidence in something else that we find ourselves in trouble and we are always let down. Today, consider where you have placed your confidence. Are you relying on human effort? Are you relying on friends or family? Or have you put your confidence in God? Are you relying on the One who was and is and is to come?

“For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort.” – Philippians 3:3 [NLT]

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Whatever Happens

The Bible tells us to rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4). This is very difficult, because we often find ourselves in circumstances that are not so delightful. Nonetheless, no matter what is going on in our lives, our heavenly Father is always deserving of honor, glory, and praise. This does not change with circumstances. Whatever happens – rejoice in the Lord!

Today, remind yourself to rejoice in the Lord. Take time to praise Him for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He has promised. “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12 NLT).

“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.” – Philippians 3:1 [NLT]

Liquid Offering

This morning, I thought I would enjoy a peaceful morning writing while drinking my coffee. With windows open and the dogs at my feet, it seemed everything was flowing smoothly. But then, as I was placing my coffee cup on the table, the mug placement was not completely on the table. I blame it on the sinus infection.  The coffee mug toppled over upside down in the bin of dog toys. It poured out everywhere. The cup was empty. Every crack and crevice of the dog toy bin was covered by coffee. No toys were spared!

When something is poured out, it is different than a spill. You control how much is poured out. You can stop the pouring at any point. If only that was true for my coffee spillage! What this means for our lives as a “liquid offering to God,” is that we can control what we will pour out and what we will hold back. Paul writes, “Even if I lose my life,” which tells us that the pouring out to God should not be controlled. We should keep pouring—giving everything of ourselves to the Lord.

Today, consider if you are pouring your life out as a liquid offering to God. Is every drop of your life reaching the cracks and crevices where God desires, just as my coffee spread out over the dog toy bin? Are you holding something back? Ask yourself if you have joy. Remember, Paul says that those who offer their lives share in the joy. If you are missing the joy, perhaps you are missing the offering.

“But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.” – Philippians 2:17 [NLT]

Live Clean

When I was younger, no one ever spoke of clean living. Today it is a big deal. Many people have invested money and time in items that detox the body. Most places sell items that are organic. We have foods that are gluten-free, lactose-free, etc.

Living clean is not only a concept that relates to consumption. The Bible discusses the importance of clean living. We are to “live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”

How can you live clean? Most would first answer, “Don’t sin,” but we read that clean living is all about not complaining or arguing (see Philippians 2:14). We are to do everything without complaint or argument so that no one can criticize anyone. When we do this, we are living clean so we shine bright in this dark and perverse world. Complaining does nothing to bring glory to God. Today, live clean.

“So that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” – Philippians 2:15 [NLT]

Desire and Power

Sometimes we do not always want to do the right thing. We don’t desire to do the right thing. We desire something else. Or we might desire to do something, but we don’t have the power to do it.

The Bible promises that God is working in us. Because God is working in us, He is giving us “the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” We aren’t alone in this. Maybe today you are not feeling a great desire to do something. Pray for God to continue moving in you to give you the desire. Maybe you feel powerless. Be reminded that the Spirit of God is within you. Pray for less of you and more of Him, so that you can do what pleases God. May you have the desire and power to do what pleases Him.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” – Philippians 2:13 [NLT]

The Same Attitude

An attitude is a way of thinking, which typically is reflected by our actions. In Philippians 2, we read that we “must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” What a difficult thing to accomplish! How are we to have the same mindset at Jesus? What is Paul trying to say in this verse?

As we continue reading, the Bible talks about Jesus giving up His divine privileges and how He took on flesh. He humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8). That’s the attitude we are to share with Christ—humble servant.

Today, consider how you can be a humble servant. Seek out opportunities to serve. Pray for more humility. Ask the Spirit to help you have the same attitude of Jesus.

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” – Philippians 2:5 [NLT]

Take an Interest

One of the hardest things is not being so stuck on myself. From the moment we begin life, we are all about self. We look out for ourselves. We want to be fed. We want to be rested. We want to be comfortable. When we learn to talk, we share about ourselves. Self. Self. Self.

When we have conversations, we go from our youthful days of asking questions and trying to learn to enjoying conversations where we talk about our day, our thoughts, our life. We don’t ask questions so much. We don’t fully listen in conversations. Instead we dominate the conversation and only listen to respond.

The Bible tells us to take an interest in others and to want the best for them. This starts with getting to know the heart of a person. Spend time with the person. Listen to them. Build a relationship. Invest in the person. Get to know about the person and be a part of their life. Relationship building is intentional. As you read the Gospel, you will note that Jesus took interest in people. He invested in people. He didn’t look out for His own interests. He sought out the very best for others, all while walking in faithful obedience to the Father. Today, take an interest. Invest. Love others.

“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” – Philippians 2:4 [NLT]

One Mind and Purpose

The Bible talks a lot about unity. This is something that is so important; in John 17, we read that Jesus prays for it! In Paul’s letter, we read of this desire for us to agree with each other, love each other, and work together with one mind and one purpose. Do you see that happening?

This is very difficult. Why do you think Jesus prayed for it?!? You must agree with each other. That doesn’t mean that you share the same opinions—it means that you agree on something together that will glorify God, serving His purpose and following His will. This also means you will love each other. This doesn’t mean you will like each other, but that you will love each other with the love of Christ. It is a love not based on what someone does or who someone is—but who Christ is. You love others because Christ loves them. As time passes, that love will grow deeper within as the Spirit moves in your life. Lastly, this verse talks about working together. Everyone has a part. Everyone is doing something. Everyone is active and working toward the same purpose with one mind. United purpose. United mind. We put aside everything that hinders and work together for God.

Today, remember this unity that God desires. Consider the church you attend. Each member is one part of the body of Christ. Each person has been gifted. Each person has different experience, background, interests, etc. Together, united, so much can be done and God is glorified. Let us agree, love, and work together with one mind and one purpose. JESUS.

“Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” – Philippians 2:2 [NLT]

Privilege to Suffer

Suffering is never on our to-do list. We don’t leave our homes in the morning saying, “I really hope I suffer today.” We are not looking for opportunities to suffer. We run from suffering and when we undergo suffering, it is painful and we usually appreciate when it ends.

Paul writes of the privilege of suffering. The privilege of suffering. This is a phrase that sounds like an oxymoron, but if you are in Christ, then you realize that Christ Jesus promises suffering would come. As His representatives, it’s guaranteed. It’s going to happen. It is a privilege because He has allowed us to be His representatives. It is a privilege because in the suffering we grow deeper in Christ. We grow in our love of God and others. We grow in our revelation of God.

Today, in whatever comes your way, embrace suffering. Thank God for the opportunity. Remember, it is a privilege.

“For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him.” – Philippians 1:29 [NLT]

Overflowing Love

When the word overflowing comes to mind, I always think of the disasters that occurred over the years. The pots on the stove that overflowed while cooking, creating a huge mess. The clog toilet that overflowed. One of the biggest things that comes to mind is the time the creeks, lakes, and rivers overflowed during the flood and we saw people paddling down the streets, and houses and roads devastated by flood waters. Something that overflows is excessive and unable to be contained.

Now think of overflowing love. This is a love that pours out of us in excess. It is outrageous. It is uncontained. It is something that comes from God. Remember, God the Father loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son (John 3:16). Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another just as He loved us (John 13:34). The Holy Spirit poured out to all believers produces fruit, and love is the first mentioned (Galatians 5:22).

God’s love is described as unfailing, unconditional, and eternal. God’s love is overwhelming, immeasurable, and relentless. The Spirit of God can help you to love deeper and wider. Pray for the compassion, love, for a heart for people. Ask the Spirit to help you to love like God loves. Pray that your love with overflow. May this love be excessive. May this love be outrageous. May this love pour out everywhere you go and point everyone you encounter to the One Who is Love.

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” – Philippians 1:9 [NLT]